The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), in collaboration with the Jamaica Business and Development Corporation (JBDC), have launched a new year-long pilot capacity development programme to support local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Known as the Growth and Expansion of MSMEs Through Innovation (GEMINI) Grant Programme, the initiative is to replace the DBJ’s Vouchers for Technical Assistance (VTA) Programme, a capacity development product that provided approximately 30 business support services to MSMEs assisting entrepreneurs to create more viable and sustainable business operations.
Speaking at the programme launch on Wednesday (May 31), Managing Director of the DBJ, Anthony Shaw, in his remarks said, “Between 2008 and 2023, we’ve had no fewer than six programmes which have supported over 330 MSMEs in kind assistance and grants to build their capacity valuing over J$1.6 billion. This capacity building in support and grants included [the VTA Programme], energy audit supply chain grants and support to boost innovation for new ideas through entrepreneurship, [as well as] seed capital with the Boosting Innovation Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) programme.”
Shaw mentioned that the DBJ’s assistance with MSMEs has helped the them through capacity building at various stages in their business life cycle.
“The most requested services have included training in digital services, business pans, financial services, marketing and promotional plans, and mentorship,” he said.
“Since COVID hit in 2020, the demand for this support has exploded largely because the pandemic exposed us to our digital weakness and digital readiness of the country. So, after close to ten years of providing sterling service to the MSME community, the DBJ premier capacity building programme (VTA) has come to an end chiefly because we needed to restructure the programme to make it more relevant to the needs of the beneficiaries,” he added, noting the reason for the launch of the GEMINI Grant Programme.
He included, “I want to express my appreciation to the JBDC which will partner with us in delivering the services that GEMINI will provide. We’ve always had a voucher programme but we’ve only taken it to a certain stage and I think that in discussions with JBDC, there’s much further that we can take it. So, partnering with them will assist our MSMEs,” highlighting that the JBDC has proven skills, especially in areas of governance, integrity, fairness and cost effectiveness that will be of great benefit.
The GEMINI Grant Programme (GGP) is designed to support the growth and development of MSMEs enabling them to improve their operational efficiency, enhance their market competitiveness, access to finance, and ultimately increase their chances of success.
The grant programme is expected to provide MSMEs with the resources they will need to improve their operational efficiency, expand and grow, enhance their market competitiveness and ultimately increase their chances of success.